Hershey to invest $250 mln in Malaysia

Oct 4 (Reuters) - Hershey Co, North America's biggest chocolate maker, said it would invest $250 million to build a manufacturing plant in Malaysia, its biggest investment in Asia.

The plant in Johor, near Singapore, will be constructed by early 2015 and will produce Hershey's Kisses, Ice Breakers, Reese's and Milk Chocolate bars.

The company, which plans to focus on the fast-growing market of China, said it expects international sales of about $1 billion by the end of 2014.

Last year, the company had forecast international sales to be 15 percent, or about $975 million, of 2012 sales of about $6.5 billion. ()

It is targeting $10 billion in annual revenue by 2017.

"We are investing heavily in the region as the middle class continues to grow and consumers increasingly want chocolate and new confectionery products," Peter Smit, senior vice president for Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in a statement on Friday.

The company has nine plants in the United States as well as facilities in Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil and China.